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Libraries, Registration Services and Trading Standards top of the agenda

10 January 2024

Tomorrow (Thursday, 11 January), the council’s Communities, Social Mobility and Inclusion Committee will receive annual reports from key services, including Libraries, Registration Services and Trading Standards.

The committee will hear that library use across the county has risen 14% in the last year – 92,000 residents used a library card last year, across 1.4 million library visits, over the 12 months from September 2022 until August 2023.

Libraries has also seen strong growth in online use of library resources. Residents have accessed more than 200,000 E-Books (and E-Audio books) in the past twelve months (more than ten times the levels of online access pre-pandemic) and approximately 500,000 newspapers and magazines were also viewed in the e-collections.

Members will also hear that the way residents are using libraries is changing. There are fewer short regular visits, but increasing numbers of infrequent visitors who stay longer, which suggests people are using the library as a ‘work-from-home’ location or a warm hub.

From the Registration Service, last year, 7,454 births and 6,517 deaths were registered, while 2,207 marriage and civil partnership ceremonies were conducted by council registrars, alongside 1,424 new British citizenship ceremonies.

Six new venues for ceremonies were licensed in the last year, including a Wisbech brewery and a stunning country estate near Sandy, bringing the total number of council approved ceremony venues in Cambridgeshire to 79.

Registry offices have also introduced different options for marriage ceremonies, in response to public feedback, and 2023 saw the first ‘ring-warming’ and ‘gin-blending’ ceremonies incorporated into Cambridgeshire weddings.

Last year, Cambridgeshire registered 98% of births within 42 days and 60% of deaths within five days – maintaining Cambridgeshire’s good ranking (within the top three) compared to 10 similar counties in the region.

Trading Standards have spent a significant time in the last year looking at vape production and sales, including working with the National Vape Group and the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency. Last year, officers seized illicit 28,040 cigarettes, 1.4kg of hand rolling tobacco and 5,288 non-compliant vapes from premises across the county.

One of the other more varied responsibilities in the past year for our Trading Standards team, was helping Cambridge United Football Club with safety. Cambridge United have seen larger crowds requiring improved safety systems and CCTV, a new radio system, and upgrades to first aid equipment. As the county’s only football league club, in the next year Trading Standards will support them through the building of two new stands.

Cllr Tom Sanderson, Chair of the Communities, Social Mobility and Inclusion Committee at Cambridgeshire County Council, said: “It’s good to hear the positive reports from three of our services at committee this week.

“As councillors we often spend our time taking key decisions to help services plan the best way forward. What can sometimes get forgotten is the fantastic ‘business-as-usual’ work that services are continuing to deliver, day in, day out for the people of Cambridgeshire. Every day the teams’ work and the improvements they’ve made, continue to help us together create a greener, fairer and more caring Cambridgeshire.”

You can find the reports being discussed at tomorrow’s meeting on the council’s website and the meeting will be live streamed on the councils official YouTube channel.